When Did Black Women Start Hating Black Men?

"There in all of us rest a piece of God that lays in wait for us to conjure up and love. We see God when we LOVE each other." - Tshombe

I've been wanting to do a response to brother-poet Joshua Bennett's amazing poem "10 Things I Want to Say to a Black Woman" for a while now, but haven't yet thought of anything that could quite compare. Joshua's poem is a stirring rendition of a black man's unconditional love for his fellow sisters. Ever since the video was posted, I've seen so many black women sharing it with their friends over Facebook and Twitter, often stating that "it brought them to tears" or "redeemed their faith in black men."

On the flip side, I recently came across this painful statement on LaShaun Williams' blog:
There are good Black men in this world, just not many.
Ouch. LaShaun is the author of the infamous "8 Reasons to Date a White Man" article on Madame Noire. It was one of the most damaging, stereotypical articles I've read in a long time. Though, I have to respect a writer who sticks to her guns and expands on her convictions. From reading the articles on her personal blog, it's clear that LaShaun really does believe that most black men ain't sh*t (except her black husband, of course), but what was most painful to me was that so many other sisters agree with her. I use the word painful because that's how I feel when I hear any negative stereotypes lobbed at black men OR women. That's MY people. And I've always believed that black love is also self-love. How can I love MY identity as a black woman . . . yet reject black men? I am only one half of the same race coin. So, when people make negative statements about black men, why wouldn't I take it personally as a black person? It makes little sense to me.

But anyway, I'm much more interested in the logic of black male bashing as a result of negative experience, as it is the only logic that makes sense to me. It cannot possibly be the case that all black women have had nothing but horrible and demeaning relationships with black men. Misogynistic rappers aside (I see you Lil' Wayne), experiences probably play a huge part in how we view black men in all areas of life. While my own father was pretty much a deadbeat, the black men that I have met, befriended and dated throughout my life have rarely been reflective of the limiting stereotypes and statistics that are constantly thrown at us. If I believed the hype, however, perhaps my eyes wouldn't be as open to actually see the "good black men out there." But then again, so much of what I love about black men mirrors what I love about black women . . . and what I love about myself.

Black love, then, has to be self-love, right? I mean, how can we hate black men and not, in some circle-of-life kind of way, hate ourselves? Even if we choose to date outside of our race, it doesn't really mean that we have to disown our race. . . right? We're still sisters and brothers who can see past all the propaganda being dumped on us and remember what it was like to need each other . . . right?

So if black love is, in fact, self-love, then how do we honor that love? How do we keep ourselves from hopping on the black male bashing bandwagon? More specifically, how do we begin to co-create a world that gives credence to our full experiences as black people and not just as numbers on a national spreadsheet calculating our every moral error? Every disease, every arrest, every job loss, every illegitimate child, every unfinished education, every non-marriage is counted against us and we, in turn, count it against each other.

I know black men aren't perfect. Which is OK, because neither am I. And neither are you. What I also know, however, is that there are more good black men out there than most of us seem to realize. And they actually do love black women. Many of them are just waiting for us to love them back.

Rosetta Thurman is a writer and positive thinker on a passionate journey to live her best life and help others do the same. She writes about personal development in work, love and life on happyblackwoman.com.

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